Ba Ria- Vung Tau: Port City for the Future

10:24:18 PM | 20/10/2011

After 20 years of continuous efforts, Ba Ria – Vung Tau province has gained great changes in the path toward industrialization and modernization. Based on the achievements, the southern coastal province is now striving for more comprehensive change and new heights. Vietnam Business Forum interviewed Mr Tran Minh Sanh, Chairman of Ba Ria - Vung Tau. Ngoc Trang reports.
Could you tell us about some outstanding achievements Ba Ria – Vung Tau gained in the past five years (2006-2010)?
During the five years of building and developing, the province made great progress in most fields from economy, culture, society to defence-security. The total added value in 2010 grew 2.27 fold against 2005; the province’s GDP per capita increased 2.28 times to US$5,000. The industrial production value went up 2.31 times, while total revenue of trade-service, 3.25 times. Regarding services, over 50 per cent of total revenue came from tourism, ports and oil and gas services, meanwhile other services such as finance, banking, insurance, information and communications developed steadily in both quantity and quality.           
The province’s economic structure was also on the right track with increased industry-service and decreased agriculture. Five-year export turnover, excluding oil and gas, reached US$4 billion. A number of new exports like tanned leather, leatherette clothes and steel contributed significantly to the province’s export transfer, as well as the expansion of export markets. During the five-year period, Ba Ria - Vung Tau paid over VND402.5 trillion to the state budget. The province’s total development investment capital reached VND94.8 trillion.
 Investment attraction increased strongly, especially foreign direct investment (FDI). By August 2011, the entire province had 290 FDI projects with total investment of US$28 billion and 340 domestic projects costing VND176 trillion.
Which solutions has the province been promoting to curb inflation, stabilize the economy and ensure social security?
Immediately after the government’s Decree 11/NQ-CP, the province set up its steering board on curbing inflation, stabilizing economy and ensuring social security and three teams to support the steering board. The teams are on duty of building plans, rechecking and assessing the implementation of policies relating to finance, monetary, production, business, export, public investment, energy saving and social security. 
The province organized a conference to promote the implementation of Decree 11/NQ-CP to all agencies and units. Provincial authorized agencies also built plans and distributed work on the basis of the function and task of each unit. The province’s fatherland front held meetings for the people, calling on them to participate in curbing inflation, stabilizing economy and ensuring social security.
We will continue a series of solutions in the upcoming time to raise the implementation efficiency of Decree 11. For example, credit organization branches in the province are requested to offer solutions to adjust credit structure, focusing loans on production, export, supporting industries and small and medium enterprises, in parallel with continuing the loan program for agriculture and rural development. Provincial authorities will also follow local enterprises, exporters and importers to help them solve difficulties relating to structure, policy, and administrative procedures.
Ba Ria – Vung Tau will recheck issued policies in order to ensure rights for workers, poor people and ethnic minorities, and actively promote new policies.
Ba Ria – Vung Tau is full of potential for developing sea ports. How has the province invested to exploit this?
Under the Master Plan for Vietnam seaport system development till 2020 and vision to 2030 approved by the government on December 24, 2009 at Decision 2190/QD-TTg, Ba Ria – Vung Tau is named in the eastern south seaport group. Accordingly, the Ba Ria - Vung Tau seaport complex will meet national standards, information assurance (IA) and be an international and regional transshipment port able to receive ships of DWT 80,000 – DWT 200,000 or TEU 60,000 – TEU 15,000 and passenger ships of GRT 10,000.
The provincial authority has been supporting investors with procedures and technical infrastructure. Currently, a 21 kilometre road along the Thi Vai – Cai Mep port system is underway. The province is also calling for central capital to build other roads connecting the seaport complex with urban areas and highways to Dong Nai, Ho Chi Minh City and neighbouring provinces.
Ba Ria Vung Tau now has 22 operating seaports. In 2010, the volume of goods through the province’s seaports was approximate 37 million tons. The big ports of SP-PSA, Tan Cang – Cai Mep, SITV, and SSA Saigon are able to receive ships up to DWT 130,000, carrying export and import goods from Ba Ria – Vung Tau and the nation to the US and other nations, territories without transshipment ports.  
In the upcoming time, the province will continue to support investors to speed up construction, exploit the potential of port and logistics services in a bid to meet the increasing transportation need. With the above-mentioned development plan, Ba Ria – Vung Tau is striving to build and complete infrastructure in order to become a port city for the future.
Last year, Ba Ria – Vung Tau’s provincial competitiveness index (PCI) dropped 11 places to 19th among 63 provinces and cities. Although still among the group with good governance, this decrease was a backward step against the province’s efforts in investment attraction. What do you think about the matter? What methods has the province planned to improve its PCI next year?
Over the past time, the province has carried out a series of solutions to create a favourable environment for investors and producers, for example increasing investment in infrastructure, training the workforce, reforming administrative procedures, encouraging firms to renew equipment and apply advanced technologies. In terms of the community of enterprises, they also continuously innovate, catch opportunities and expand business, contributing to completing the province’s economic development targets.   
However, under the PCI 2010, Ba Ria – Vung Tau’s investment environment has not yet met the needs and requirements of enterprises in some aspects. To improve the index, the province already organized a conference to seek for solutions as well as held a dialogue between provincial leaders and local enterprises in which they together overcame difficulties in tax, customs and other challenges. On July 20, 2011, the provincial people’s committee issued Instruction 13/CT - UBND on improving PCI 2011. Accordingly, relevant agencies and departments have been requested to build detailed plans and submit reports quarterly.